How to Introduce a Baby to a Pool

Three Parts:Getting Your Baby Ready for the PoolPracticing Safe Pool HabitsGetting Used to the Water

Bringing your baby to the pool can instill healthy practices early in their life. Babies can start going into the water at six weeks, although you should make sure that they are ready before you begin. At the pool, you should introduce the baby slowly and safely. Once you are in the water, you can make it fun by playing and singing. Over time, your baby will become more comfortable and confident in the water.

Part 1
Getting Your Baby Ready for the Pool

  1. 1
    Start with baths. Before you introduce your baby to the pool, you can familiarize them with water through baths. While they bathe, fill a cup with water and slowly pour it over their head. This will teach your child what it is like to be wet. Always supervise your child while they are in the bath.[1]
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    Consider when you want to begin. The earlier you expose your baby to the pool, the more confident they will be as a toddler in the water. You can start as young as six weeks old. Do not worry about introducing them too young. Babies up to six months old actually have a natural instinct to hold their breath under water. [2]
    • For young infants, you should make sure that umbilical cord or circumcision wounds have healed.[3] Furthermore, if you had a C-section, you may want to wait until you have healed as well.[4]
    • You can wait until your baby is older if you want. Babies between six and ten months can be taught to hold their breath on cue. They may also be able to grab the edge of the pool or push off the side of the pool into your arms.[5]
    • Speak to your doctor to make sure that your baby is ready to go into the pool. The doctor can tell you if an infant's wounds have healed or if there are any medical conditions that may prevent your baby from going into the water.
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    Pack baby supplies. You will need to pack your diaper bag with certain supplies to make sure that your baby is comfortable and happy. The most important thing to bring are swim diapers. These will catch any accidents that happen in the pool. Many public pools require that babies wear swim diapers. You should also bring:
    • A bottle or snacks if your baby is at that stage
    • A clean towel. One with a hood is best.
    • Bath toys such as toy boats, plastic animals, or dolls[6]
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    Find a suitable pool. You can start in a public pool, a private pool, or an inflatable baby pool. The pool should be warm and clean. For babies under six months, the water should be heated to 90 F (32 C).[7][8]
    • If you cannot find a heated pool, you can take them into a non-heated pool. Your pool session should only last ten minutes. Afterwards, warm the baby up in a clean towel.[9] If the pool feels too cold for you, it is too cold for your baby.

Part 2
Practicing Safe Pool Habits

  1. 1
    Make sure lifeguards or instructors are available. If you are using a public pool, you should ensure that there are lifeguards on duty. If something bad happens, they can help rescue or resuscitate your baby.
    • You may even want to consider baby swimming lessons. The instructors will be experienced in introducing babies to pools, and they will have proper safety equipment.[10]
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    Hold your baby tightly. Enter the pool with your baby pressed against your chest. Go slowly so that you do not shock your baby. Once you are in the water, hold your baby under the armpits. Make sure their head is above water and that their face is level with yours.[11]
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    Supervise your baby. You should always be holding your baby in the pool, even if they are just playing on the steps. Never take your eyes off of them.[12] Even if you are starting in a shallow baby pool, always watch your baby. If they fall over, they can inhale water and drown. Sit in the pool next to them.[13]
  4. 4
    Avoid relying on flotation devices. Water wings, air-filled tubes, and kick boards will not guarantee that your baby will be safe. Some experts recommend against using these as they may cause more harm than good.[14] Instead, keep a firm grip on your child while they are in the pool. If you want extra reassurance, find a U.S. Coast Guard approved baby life vest.[15]

Part 3
Getting Used to the Water

  1. 1
    Play with your baby. Once you and the baby are in the water, you should start playing and singing to them. Smile and relax. This will help your baby adjust to the water, and they will associate it with pleasant emotions.[16] You can try to:
    • Gently bob your baby up and down in the water.
    • Gently swirl them back and forth in the water.
    • Float some bath toys in the water. As they reach for them, hold your baby out horizontally in front of you as though they are swimming. Do not let go of them. Make sure that their head is above water.
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    Let the baby splash on the steps. If there are steps in the pool, you can sit down with your baby sitting between your legs. Keep the baby upright. They can splash in the water or play with bath toys.
  3. 3
    Avoid staying too long. Babies can become cold in the pool, even in a heated pool. At first, you should only have a session of about ten to twenty minutes. You can work your swimming sessions up to thirty minutes, but this is the maximum time limit for most babies.
    • If you notice your baby’s lips or fingernails becoming blue, they are cold. Similarly, if they begin to shiver, you should remove them from the pool. Dry them in a towel to warm them.[17]
  4. 4
    Remove the baby if they are upset. If the baby cries or shows other signs of distress, get out of the water and try again later. Wrap them in a towel to dry them off. You may want to wait a few weeks before trying to introduce them again.[18]


  • Baby swim classes are a good way to get involved in swimming that is suitable for babies. Check your local YMCA/YWCA for swimming lessons for young children.
  • Give your baby a snack afterwards. They will be hungry from the exercise.
  • Make sure to put sunscreen on your baby before you go into the pool. Baby skin is susceptible to sun burn.


  • Take your time. There is plenty of time to get them used to being in the pool.
  • Always supervise children and babies in the pool.
  • Do not let go of your baby until they learn how to swim.

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Categories: Babies and Infants | Swimming and Diving